ESPN’s Graziano: Kyler Murray’s long-term future on Cardinals already of interest

May 23, 2023, 5:47 PM | Updated: May 24, 2023, 9:09 am

Kyler Murray is not even into the first year where his $230.5 million contract extension signed last July begins eating away massive amounts of the Arizona Cardinals’ salary books.

But the long-term future of the quarterback in Arizona is already squarely in view because of circumstances that have little to do with his performance.

In an exercise of asking one question about a quarterback on every NFL roster, ESPN’s Dan Graziano paints the wide-view picture surrounding Murray. While we’ll wonder how his ACL recovery impacts the Cardinals’ 2023 season, the context around Murray brings up many more questions beyond this coming year.

The Cardinals have a new GM, a new coach, a weak-looking roster and five picks in the first three rounds of next year’s draft. So, you ask, could they be thinking of moving on from Murray this time next year? Well, maybe, but it won’t be easy. The contract he signed with them last offseason guarantees him $35.3 million in 2024, and if he’s still on the roster at the start of the 2024 league year, another $30 million in 2025 money becomes guaranteed.

On one hand, Murray should be eager to get back on the field and show his new employers he’s the guy they can count on long term. On the other, the contract really does protect him in case he can’t. If you had to bet on this, it’s probably safer to think Murray is going to be there for a while. But until we see him on the field again, this situation will remain shrouded in mystery.

The missing context there is this: The Cardinals’ new brass has made certain to prioritize and connect with the quarterback.

Arizona’s leaders took heat in media circles for spending a weekend on the road, attending the Oklahoma Sooners’ honoring of Murray with a statue unveiling this April. The franchise has been sure to position Murray as the franchise face as Pro Bowlers like Budda Baker and DeAndre Hopkins have been thrown deep into the trade rumor waters.

Still, with the Cardinals projected to select high in the 2024 NFL Draft with either or both of their own draft pick and owning the Houston Texans’, the likely draft stock and eligibility of USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams could set Arizona up for yet another heel-turn behind center.

If the Cardinals choose, at least.

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ESPN’s Graziano: Kyler Murray’s long-term future on Cardinals already of interest